It is customary to perform Panchaayatana puja daily among Hindu homes. It is a daily worship of the five deities viz., Ganesha, Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu and Surya (The Sun). Surya occupies a special status among these five deities because He is the only Pratyaksha Devata i.e. He is the only one Deity who is visible to the naked eye not based on any Anumanam (inference) or any other means of knowledge like Sabda etc.
The objective of another prescribed daily ritual, Sandhyaavandanam, is the worship of Surya during the Morning, the Mid Day and the Dusk. The Gayatri mantra recited during this ritual is the most sacred invocation to the Sun God praying for a Good Day similar to the modern “Good Day to You” type.
Worship of the Sun God or Suryopasana is as ancient as Hinduism itself having its origin from Vedic times. Hence numerous hymns addressed to Him are found in all the four Vedas - e.g. Saura Sukta of the Rg Veda, Aruna Prashna of the Taittiriiya Aranyaka, Surya Namaskara mantras, Surya Upanishad of Atharva Veda etc. These hymns describe the celestial body as the source of energy and sustainer of all life on the planet earth.
They portray the Sun as the store house of inexhaustible power and radiance. The Sun god is also referred to as Aditya. The origin of the worship of the Sun in India is thus several centuries old.
Suurya is usually equated with Brahman as "asaavaadityo brahma", meaning the Sun is the icon of Brahman.
Rig Veda says "Surya Atma Jagatastasthushashcha" meaning the Sun God is the Soul of all beings, moving and non-moving.
References to the Sun worship are also found in the Puranas. The famous Aditya Hridayam is a part of the Yuddha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana wherein Sage Agastya initiates Rama into Sun worship to bolster up His spirits while facing Ravana in the battlefield. We find references to Surya in the Mahabharata also.
Mayura, who lived in the court of Harshavardhana composed the Surya Satakam in praise of Surya and is believed to have been cured of blindness.
One of the famous Vedic Hymns in praise of the Sun God is Surya Upanishad which finds place in the Atharva Veda. It is reproduced below in its transliterated form from the original Sanskrit together with its free English translation.
aum bhadram karnebhih shrunuyaama devaah
sthirairangaistushhtuvaansastanuubhirvyashema devahitam yadaayuh
svasti na indro vriddhashravaah svasti nah puushhaa vishvavedaah
svasti nastaarkshyo arishhtanemih svasti no brihaspatirdadhaatu
aum shaantih shaantih shaantih
Om! O Devas, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious; May we see with our eyes what is auspicious, O ye worthy of worship! May we enjoy the term of life allotted by the Devas, Praising them with our body and limbs steady! May the glorious Indra bless us! May the all-knowing Sun bless us! May Garuda, the thunderbolt for evil, bless us! May Brihaspati grant us well-being!
Om! Peace, Peace, Peace!
The Upanishad Text
harih aum atha suuryaatharvaangirasam vyaakhyaasyaamah
brahmaa rishhih gaayatrii chhandah aadityo devataa
hamsah soaham agni naaraayanayuktam biijam hrillekhaa shaktih
chaturvidha purushhaarthasiddhyarthe viniyogah
Now we shall expound mantras of Atharva Veda in relation to the Sun: The seer of this Atharva Angirasa mantra is Brahma, metre Gayatri, Aditya the deity, ‘Hamsas so’ham with Agni and Narayana is the seed, the power is hrillekha or hrim, the pin is the power in the process of unfolding the sky etc., the application is its use in repetition for winning the four human goals (viz. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha).
shhatsvaraaruudhena biijena shhadangam raktaambujasansthitam
saptaashvarathinam hiranyavarnam chaturbhujam
shriisuuryanaaraayanam ya evam veda sa vai braahmanah
The six limbs consist of the seed with six vowels added. He indeed is a Brahmana who thus knows the golden Surya Narayana seated on the chariot with seven horses, impeller of the time-wheel, having four arms bearing two lotuses, the others bestowing promise of refuge and boon, set in the red lotus.
aum bhuurbhuvahsuvah aum tatsaviturvarenyam bhargo devasya
dhiimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayaath
Om, Earth, middle region and sky; we meditate on the adorable splendor of Savitar (Sun) who may inspire our thoughts.
suurya aatmaa jagatastasthushhashcha suuryaadvai khalvimaani
suuryaadyagyah parjanyoannamaatmaa namasta aaditya
The Sun is the Self of the world, moving as well as un-moving. From Surya indeed are these creatures born, so also the Yajna (Sacrifice), Parjanya (Rains), food and spirit.
tvameva pratyaksham karmakartaasi tvameva pratyaksham brahmaasi
tvameva pratyaksham vishhnurasi
tvameva pratyaksham rudroasi tvameva pratyakshamrigasi
tvameva pratyaksham yajurasi
tvameva pratyaksham saamaasi tvameva pratyakshamatharvaasi
tvameva sarvam chhandoasi
I bow to you Aditya; you are the agent himself of work, the manifest Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharva Vedas, as well as all the chandas (Metres).
aadityaadvyoma disho jaayante aadityaaddevaa jaayante
aadityo vaa eshha etanmandalan tapati asaavaadityo brahma
From Aditya are born air, earth, water, fire, sky, directions, Devas, Vedas; indeed the Sun gives warmth to this sphere (Planet) ; that Sun God is Brahman,
aadityoantahkaranamanobuddhichittaahankaaraah aadityo vai
vyaanah samaanodaanoapaanah praanah
aadityo vai shrotratvakchakshuurasanaghraanaah aadityo vai
aadityo vai shabdasparsharuuparasagandhaah aadityo vai
I bow to Aditya who is the form of antahkarana or inner organs of mind, intellect, mind-stuff and Ego. He is prana, apana, samana, vyana and udhana, (all the five airs circulating in the physical body). He is the five sense organs viz. ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose whose modifications are sound, touch, form, taste and smell. He is the five motor organs of mouth, hands, legs, anus and generative organ whose modifications are speech, movement of things through hands, movement of the body from place to place through legs, evacuation and procreation.
aanandamayo gyaanamayo vigyaanaanamaya aadityah namo mitraaya
bhaanave mrityormaa paahi
bhraajishhnave vishvahetave namah suuryaadbhavanti bhuutaani
suuryena paalitaani tu
suurye layam praapnuvanti yah suuryah soahameva cha chakshurno
devah savitaa chakshurna uta parvatah
chakshurdhaataa dadhaatu nah
aadityaaya vidmahe sahasrakiranaaya dhiimahi taanah suuryah prachodayaath
Bliss, knowledge and wisdom are Sun himself. I bow to Mitra, Bhanu, to the shining one, the cause of the universe and let Him protect me from death.
All creatures are born of Surya and are protected by him, dissolve in him – I am Surya himself. The divine Savitar is our eye and He is called the Parvata because He indicates Sacred timings through His Time-periods and let Him protect our eyes.
We know the Sun. We meditate on the thousand-rayed Sun. May the Sun inspire us! (This is called Surya Gayatri Mantra).
savitaa pashchaattaat savitaa purastaat
savitaa nah suvatu sarvataatin savitaa no raasataam diirghamaayuh
Savitar (Sun) is before us as well as behind us, above us and below us. May He grant us omnipresence and long life!
aumityekaaksharam brahma ghriniriti dve akshare suurya
ityaksharadvayam aaditya iti triinyaksharaani
etasyaiva suuryasyaashhtaaksharo manuh yah sadaaharaharjapati sa
vai braahmano bhavati sa vai braahmano bhavati
Brahman is the single syllable Om, “Ghrini’ has two syllables, ‘Surya’ also has two syllables. ‘Aditya’ has three. This is the mantra of eight syllables. All together the mantra will be "Om, Ghrinih Surya Aadityom". This is Atharvaangiras Surya mantra. He who recites this every day is said to be a Brahman
Benefits of Sun Worship ::
suuryaabhimukho japtvaa mahaavyaadhibhayaatpramuchyate
alakshmiirnashyati abhakshyabhakshanaatpuuto bhavati
agamyaagamanaatpuuto bhavati patitasambhaashhanaatpuuto bhavati
madhyaahne suuraabhimukhah patheth
saishhaan saavitriin vidyaan na kijnchidapi na
If this mantra is recited facing the Sun one is released from the fear of great diseases; his poverty perishes. He becomes free from various sins like eating forbidden food, having forbidden sexual relations, indulging in conversation with people having no character.
At midday if one recites this facing the Sun he is released from the five great sins. He should be careful not to impart this Savitri Vidya to undeserving people.
ya etaam mahaabhaagah praatah pathati sa bhaagyavaajnjaayate
pashuunvindati vedaartham labhate
trikaalametajjaptvaa kratushataphalamavaapnoti yo hastaaditye
japati sa mahaamrityum tarati ya evan veda
ityupanishhath… harih aum
He who recites at dawn becomes fortunate, gets live-stock, masters Vedas; reciting during the three periods (dawn, mid-day and dusk) he gets the fruit of performing hundred Yagnas; reciting when the Sun is in Hasta Nakshatra he conquers death.
It is believed even in modern medical science that regular daily prayer to Surya or performing Surya Namskars is deemed to cure all incurable diseases, improve eye-sight, bestow long life, remove ignorance leading to Brahmic knowledge, defeat all inimical forces, grant bliss by eradicating all sorrows or negative thoughts.
It is indeed a tool for leading a positive life.
iti suuryopanishhatsamaaptaa ..
Thus ends the Suuryopanishad (courtesy : www. vvrishikulam.com)
For Audio click the below